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Product Packaging: The Search Engine Optimization of Retail

Posted July 11, 2017 by Jamestown Container

Packaging is often an underappreciated piece of the product marketing puzzle, especially in retail. Whether you are on Amazon or at the local grocery store, your packaging is the last line of defense to grab a consumer’s attention. Brands must place more emphasis on optimizing the product packaging for the search engine of retail.

SEO stands for search engine optimization. This term is widely used among Internet marketers as they continuously improve and optimize their online content. But, the same principles can be applied to package design. When you think about the product packaging at retail, it communicates your brand and product to the consumer at the First Moment of Truth.

The First Moment of Truth is when consumers are ready to buy and are focused on your product category. How do you entice the subconscious of consumers to choose your product over competitors? The underutilized answer is packaging. Package design is essential to communication with the subconscious. Through a multitude of consumer research studies, Dr. R. Andrew Hurley of Clemson University found that the First Moment of Truth in retail is influenced more by product packaging than many brands had before thought possible.  

Retail Packaging
 What does this mean? That attention is critical! Unseen is unsold, and if your packaging does not grab and hold attention, the probability of a favorable decision to select your product approaches zero. As a brand owner, you need to understand the subconscious decision processes going on in the consumer’s mind that ultimately leads to a final decision.
It’s critical for brands to fully understand the product category from a consumer standpoint to be able to optimize for the retail environment. Did you know that good design can impact the time to find a package? You can employ a quantitative assessment of your packaging to learn how to drive attention your way. Your package, encompassing your choice of labeling, material, and branding, influences the subconscious of consumers at the shelf. 
Retail Packaging Manufacturer

It’s obvious that unseen products are unsold, but the message can be applied at a much deeper level. Dozens of research studies have been conducted on the effects of physical product disclosure, and the results overwhelmingly demonstrate that visible products sell. Consumers purchase packages that show the product inside more frequently than the same packaging without the benefit of product display. Product visibility is critical for package optimization in the retail store. Think about the difference it makes when you get the chance to see desserts versus just reading the menu. 

As you think about optimizing your package for retail, it’s important for consumer research to be a focal point in the package design innovation process. You should engage your target market to provide real consumer data to your design teams. Research, design, test, optimize, repeat. Embracing these methods is not as time consuming or expensive as most companies might assume, but it does require some forethought and purposeful action.

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